BANGOR, Maine — Sophomore guard Ryan Alley scored seven of his team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter Thursday night as second-ranked Jonesport-Beals held off stubborn Machias 46-36 in a Class D North boys basketball semifinal at the Cross Insurance Center.

“The first half we didn’t play very good but the second half we came out and picked up defensively and worked really hard to put them away,” said Alley, one of six sophomores on coach Skipper Alley’s roster..

Jonesport-Beals (16-3) will play the winner of Thursday’s late semifinal between No. 1 Woodland and No. 5 Schenck of East Millinocket for the regional championship at 10:45 a.m. Saturday.

“It’s a crazy feeling right now,” said Alley. “I’m so excited right now. I can’t even explain it.”

No. 6 Machias, the 2017 state champion, ends its season at 13-8.

Judson Carver V added eight points for Jonesport-Beals while Adam Robinson had six points and eight rebounds and Austin Grant grabbed nine rebounds for the Royals.

Alessandro Marotta led Machias with a game-high 16 points along with nine rebounds, while Noah Albert scored nine points.

Jonesport-Beals and Machias split two regular-season games played just five days apart in early January, with Jonesport-Beals winning 57-48 at Jonesport on Jan. 5 and Machias triumphing 52-41 on its home court in the Jan. 10 rematch.

But Machias was without senior guard Jordan Grant, as the Bulldogs’ 1,000-point scorer was dismissed from the team earlier this week.

“He’s a very good scorer,” said Ryan Alley, “but we came in with the same mindset. We knew we had to play just as hard whether (Grant) played or didn’t play.

Marotta got Machias off to a good start with a 3-pointer and another jumper in the game’s first 60 seconds to give the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead.

Machias led 9-5 after the first quarter and 11-5 after a follow-up jumper by Marotta 25 seconds into the second period.

But as Jonesport-Beals focused its defense on Machias’ perimeter play, the Royals took over, forcing eight Bulldogs’ turnovers during the second quarter to spark a 15-1 over the final 7:03 of the half for a 20-12 intermission lead,

Six different Royals contributed to that run offensively as Jonesport-Beals was able to work the ball inside against the shorter Machias front line, with Robinson contributing four points and an assist to the effort.

Marotta buried another 3-pointer to open the second half and pull Machias within 20-15, but while the hustling Bulldogs were able to hang around they were unable to draw any closer though the final score matched Jonesport-Beals’ largest lead of the night.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...